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View Full Version : SUL Challenge 2010 - GET ME BACK IN THE TREES!



SGT Rock
2010-04-25, 20:05
OK friends and neighbors, I've been working this for a few weeks now and it's time to start talking about it some more.

Back in 2005 I was an Editor for Backpacking Light Magazine. Don't bother looking for anything I ever wrote. I got into it not knowing my life in the Army was about to get VERY busy. I never got a chance to write anything or finish any project.

One of the things I did get in on was a series of articles that were going to be the Super Ultralight (SUL) Challenge. It was going to be about taking gear and putting together a kit that weighed less than 5 pounds. As I recall the rules were basically:

Base pack weight less than 5 pounds.

You didn't have to count any consumables.

What you wore or carried had to be less than your pack weight.

They may have been more rules for that, I don't recall. I got some gear sent to me from various manufacturers to try out. I put together a kit and took it hiking.

I hated it.

It wasn't my style of hiking. I'm not a gram weenie that cuts grams for the sake of cutting grams. I try to be smart about what I carry and find the lightest ways to carry what I want to camp with, but I'm not the kind of guy that will take a bath in DEET before starting to avoid carrying 3 ounces of bug net.

Add to that, all these solutions were for ground sleeping. I am a hanger because I love sleeping in hammocks. Going to ground to get under 5 pounds wasn't what I wanted to be doing. I looked around at the time for some solutions to lower the weight, but at the time I didn't see anything out there for SUL hammocks. All I could think is:


GET ME BACK TO THE TREES!

And finally. I do like to have some fun things to do in camp. Things that make life more enjoyable.

So this year, as I am getting back into updating my site and doing reviews and such, I wanted to start by seeing if I could do the SUL Challenge on my own, but adding some rules of my own into the mix:

It must be a hammock kit.

It must include things I like to do like listen to music and Sodoku or crossword puzzles.

It must have and bourbon and cigars.

I can't throw everything out for the sake of saving weight, so I still wear my normal watch, wedding ring, dogtags, etc.

And, it must have hot food and coffee in the mornings.

So with that, I started putting together my kit. I got onto hammock forums and learned what was new on that front. I did find some solutions to the issues that made SUL hammock not likely to work only 5 years ago. So that said, if you are interested, here is the link to what I worked out:

http://hikinghq.net/sul.html

I've got everything worked out so that my base pack weight is 4.98 pounds and what I am wearing and carrying is 4.98 pounds.

The trip I am going to use to see if it all works is one I have been trying to do for about 3 months now. I'm going to do the Appalachian Trail from Neels Gap to Long Creek Falls and the start of the Benton MacKaye Trail, then hike the BMT to the intersection of the Duncan Ridge Trail, hike the DRT back to the AT near Blood Mountain, and finish up hiking the AT back to Neels Gap.

In case you haven't heard of the DRT, it is considered a difficult trail. With a trail that roller coasters up and down for 18+ miles, having a pack under 10 pounds (by that point) will be a good thing.

I just checked the weather forecast, looks like rain and thunderstorms next weekend when I go do this.

So now I get to see if I go freeze to death, get drowned, or kill myself on this difficult trail. I plan to post a trip report and feedback on how all the gear ends up working out.

SGT Rock
2010-04-25, 21:00
Basic plan:

Friday, 30 April - Drive to GA. Camp somewhere.

Saturday, 1 May - BMTA meeting in the morning. After the meeting, eat lunch and pick up something to pack in for dinner. Drive to Neels Gap and hike about 4.3 miles to Lance Creek.

Sunday, 2 May - Hike about 15.5 miles to Hawk Mountain near the shelter.

Monday, 3 May - Hike about 15.6 miles to Wallhala Mountain. Eat at Martin's and pick up some snacks maybe.

Tuesday, 4 May - Hike about 15.5 miles to Whiteoak Stomp.

Wednesday, 5 May - Hike about 9.2 miles to Neels Gap. Stop by Mountain Crossings before going home.

Total is a little over 60 miles.

Mags
2010-04-25, 21:24
It wasn't my style of hiking. I'm not a gram weenie that cuts grams for the sake of cutting grams. I try to be smart about what I carry and find the lightest ways to carry what I want to camp with, but I'm not the kind of guy that will take a bath in DEET before starting to avoid carrying 3 ounces of bug net.


Amen. Too many ultralight hobbyists out there. People counting their gear weight as their hobby...hiking just happens to be a way of doing it.

Good luck with the experiment. I just may write down some tips!

SGT Rock
2010-04-25, 21:44
Send me any tips you think of. After seeing those pants you left at my house I went and got a pair.

Russell
2010-04-25, 22:40
After seeing those pants you left at my house I went and got a pair.

What?

vonfrick
2010-04-25, 23:22
What?

i know really...and they pick on poor warrghy :rolleyes2

enviro
2010-04-26, 15:10
Rock what are those dispensors that you have in your list, and where can those be purchased.

BTW you could leave the wedding ring at home. I think Dixie is safe :ahhhhh:

dixicritter
2010-04-26, 16:39
Rock what are those dispensors that you have in your list, and where can those be purchased.

Try here... http://www.cvs.com/CVSApp/catalog/shop_product_detail.jsp?filterBy=&skuId=396731&productId=396731&navAction=jump&navCount=3


BTW you could leave the wedding ring at home. I think Dixie is safe :ahhhhh:

Funny!

enviro
2010-04-26, 16:40
Try here... http://www.cvs.com/CVSApp/catalog/shop_product_detail.jsp?filterBy=&skuId=396731&productId=396731&navAction=jump&navCount=3



Funny!

There were different things in the dispensors. They looked like a pen and I assumed they were refillable. Was I wrong?

dixicritter
2010-04-26, 16:44
There were different things in the dispensors. They looked like a pen and I assumed they were refillable. Was I wrong?

This is Rock we're talking about... he's the king of not using things for their intended purpose. :wink: The dispensers originally had hand sanitizer in them... clean one out and reuse for deet. Yep they are refillable.

enviro
2010-04-26, 16:55
This is Rock we're talking about... he's the king of not using things for their intended purpose. :wink: The dispensers originally had hand sanitizer in them... clean one out and reuse for deet. Yep they are refillable.

Got it.

Nearly Normal
2010-04-26, 17:33
Are we taking about pez?

Ray
2010-04-26, 19:42
then hike the BMT to the intersection of the Duncan Ridge Trail, hike the DRT back to the AT near Blood Mountain, and finish up hiking the AT back to Neels Gap.

In case you haven't heard of the DRT, it is considered a difficult trail. With a trail that roller coasters up and down for 18+ miles, having a pack under 10 pounds (by that point) will be a good thing. The Duncan Ridge? Difficult?

Nah. Used to be but then the GATC took it over and appointed a maintainer. Now little old grey haired ladies use it to exercise their Pekinese puppies.

enviro
2010-04-26, 19:45
The Duncan Ridge? Difficult?

Nah. Used to be but then the GATC took it over and appointed a maintainer. Now little old grey haired ladies use it to exercise their Pekinese puppies.

Must be one hell of a maintainer!

Ray
2010-04-26, 20:03
Must be one hell of a maintainer!Certifiably crazy.

SGT Rock
2010-04-26, 20:57
The Duncan Ridge? Difficult?

Nah. Used to be but then the GATC took it over and appointed a maintainer. Now little old grey haired ladies use it to exercise their Pekinese puppies.

It won't break my heart if it got easier.

Looks like lows in the 50s and highs in the 70s. with a 40% chance of rain.

enviro
2010-04-26, 21:54
Certifiably crazy.

What I was thinking

Ray
2010-04-26, 22:12
Sarge - As you leave Fish Gap you'll pass through a burnt tangle that you might be able to tell was once a beautiful rhodie tunnel. Clear that then you'll turn on the side of Fish Knob and start a nice long smooth gradual uphill towards Clements Mtn. About the time you can first see the ridgeline be sure to look for my friend the tree guardian and take his picture. http://i67.photobucket.com/albums/h299/raystern/DRT%202008/drtsignface1a.jpg

Mags
2010-04-26, 22:38
Send me any tips you think of. After seeing those pants you left at my house I went and got a pair.

That does sound odd.. :D (I left them drying in the basement folks..move along. Move along).


I don't know if I could do SUL. Then again, I have not backpacked in really warm climates recently. Hmm....

MonkeyBoy
2010-04-27, 00:19
Sarge - As you leave Fish Gap you'll pass through a burnt tangle that you might be able to tell was once a beautiful rhodie tunnel. Clear that then you'll turn on the side of Fish Knob and start a nice long smooth gradual uphill towards Clements Mtn. About the time you can first see the ridgeline be sure to look for my friend the tree guardian and take his picture. http://i67.photobucket.com/albums/h299/raystern/DRT%202008/drtsignface1a.jpg

Looks like E.T.

SGT Rock
2010-04-27, 05:04
Interesting tree.

Ray
2010-04-27, 08:36
The DRT traces the northern border of the Cooper Creek WMA and the old WMA border signs were nailed flush to trees. Over time the trees have been slowly eating the signs, the 'face' is the scar over the sign, you can see the yellow edges sticking out of the 'mouth'. You'll see quite a few others along the way.


http://i67.photobucket.com/albums/h299/raystern/DRT%202008/th_drtsarvissign3a.jpg (http://s67.photobucket.com/albums/h299/raystern/DRT%202008/?action=view&current=drtsarvissign3a.jpg) http://i67.photobucket.com/albums/h299/raystern/DRT%202008/th_DRTsign1.jpg (http://s67.photobucket.com/albums/h299/raystern/DRT%202008/?action=view&current=DRTsign1.jpg)

MonkeyBoy
2010-04-27, 09:36
http://i67.photobucket.com/albums/h299/raystern/DRT%202008/th_drtsarvissign3a.jpg (http://s67.photobucket.com/albums/h299/raystern/DRT%202008/?action=view&current=drtsarvissign3a.jpg) http://i67.photobucket.com/albums/h299/raystern/DRT%202008/th_DRTsign1.jpg (http://s67.photobucket.com/albums/h299/raystern/DRT%202008/?action=view&current=DRTsign1.jpg)

nom nom nom

SGT Rock
2010-04-27, 20:11
Mmmmm Trail signs.... Aggggggghhhhhhh.....

dixicritter
2010-04-27, 20:28
http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_tXnRqvqZouw/SUp-67JjxnI/AAAAAAAAAWQ/BmHvjbWYewc/s400/homer_simpson31.jpg

SGT Rock
2010-04-27, 21:22
Looks like the forecast for chance of rain is slowly going down, while the low temps are slow going up. Good omens.

vonfrick
2010-04-27, 22:14
Looks like the forecast for chance of rain is slowly going down, while the low temps are slow going up. Good omens.

good for you...there's a winter storm warning in maine tonight for 6" of snow :argh:...was hoping for a hike this weekend, not mud wrasslin'!

Ray
2010-04-27, 23:45
Wish I could meet you out there, Rock. But I'm going back to Texas next week to visit some friends and kinfolk I haven't seen in over a decade. Pulling the hotel suite.

DRT's been cleared of winter blowdowns between Fish & Mulky, then Whiteoak to Blood Mtn. If you think about it, I'd really be interested in blowdowns between Rhodes & Fish Gap and then Mulky to Whiteoak. There's a huge one atop Gregory, that summbitch will just have to stay there, then two back to back just before you summit Coosa. The Coosa ones aren't real big but were too much for the baby chainsaw we carried. Other than those I'm interested in anything you have to step over in those sections.

And if you get to Mulky and need water, take the gated road across the street as in my guide. But continue past the springs on the right for another 100 yards and you'll come to a big wildlife clearing with a new concrete sidewalk leading to a hunting blind on your left. There's a good stream straight ahead across the clearing, you'll see the trail.

Check out the hunting blind at your own risk. Wasps.

SGT Rock
2010-04-28, 04:51
Thanks for that tidbit Ray

Mother Nature
2010-04-28, 13:45
The Duncan Ridge? Difficult?

Nah. Used to be but then the GATC took it over and appointed a maintainer. Now little old grey haired ladies use it to exercise their Pekinese puppies.

Bull Sheet.

LOL

Ray
2010-04-28, 14:19
Bull Sheet.You're saying you need a Pekinese?

SGT Rock
2010-04-30, 15:07
Packing up and getting ready to head out.

saimyoji
2010-04-30, 15:42
have a good hike.

Kanga
2010-04-30, 15:43
i now dub thee, mags the II.

SGT Rock
2010-05-06, 11:46
I didn't die. Trip report coming someday.

The pack died day 1 though. Thanks to Cool Breeze the trip was salvaged.

SGT Rock
2010-05-06, 12:33
This day I drove down to Blue Ridge, GA and went out to the Fall Creek Falls on the BMT to spend the night. Total miles walked was about 0.3

SGT Rock
2010-05-06, 12:53
Woke up and went to the BMTA meeting then tried to get started on my hike. I lost my map trying to get up Blood Mountain and end up only getting 1 mile up the trail for hiking about 2.3 miles. Trying to salvage my hike.

SGT Rock
2010-05-06, 13:04
Wake up late. Pack busts. Cool Breeze saves my hike. Back on track.

SGT Rock
2010-05-06, 15:18
Hitting the BMT: Blow downs, bridges, and bourbon.

SGT Rock
2010-05-06, 15:28
Talking with a local hunter. Hit the DRT and... Oh my God! The DRT humbles me. Heat and sun, gnats, low water, chiggers, mountains, etc.

SGT Rock
2010-05-06, 16:11
Finishing up the trip. I had a good day today.

SGT Rock
2010-05-06, 16:39
The DRT traces the northern border of the Cooper Creek WMA and the old WMA border signs were nailed flush to trees. Over time the trees have been slowly eating the signs, the 'face' is the scar over the sign, you can see the yellow edges sticking out of the 'mouth'. You'll see quite a few others along the way.


http://i67.photobucket.com/albums/h299/raystern/DRT%202008/th_drtsarvissign3a.jpg (http://s67.photobucket.com/albums/h299/raystern/DRT%202008/?action=view&current=drtsarvissign3a.jpg) http://i67.photobucket.com/albums/h299/raystern/DRT%202008/th_DRTsign1.jpg (http://s67.photobucket.com/albums/h299/raystern/DRT%202008/?action=view&current=DRTsign1.jpg)
Here are some tree pics for ya...

http://hikinghq.net/forum/picture.php?albumid=71&pictureid=777
http://hikinghq.net/forum/picture.php?albumid=71&pictureid=776
http://hikinghq.net/forum/picture.php?albumid=71&pictureid=775
http://hikinghq.net/forum/picture.php?albumid=71&pictureid=774
http://hikinghq.net/forum/picture.php?albumid=71&pictureid=773
http://hikinghq.net/forum/picture.php?albumid=71&pictureid=772
http://hikinghq.net/forum/picture.php?albumid=71&pictureid=771
http://hikinghq.net/forum/picture.php?albumid=71&pictureid=769
http://hikinghq.net/forum/picture.php?albumid=71&pictureid=760

MacEntyre
2010-05-06, 16:59
Great report, Sarge!

I wish I had given you a 2 layer Insultex (IX) UQ.

Your report makes me wonder if you are suspending the IX UQ a bit too tight... Most people are fine with one layer at 50*F, unless you get it just a little too tight. It should be hung like a bridal veil, not quite touching your hammock. You must especially avoid letting it touch the hammock at your low point.

Keep the edges closed! If the head end of the IX UQ goes up above your shoulders, it will leak cold air. The upper end is fitted to your shoulders.

PM me on HF with your address, and I'll send you a second layer!

- MacEntyre

SGT Rock
2010-05-06, 17:06
Great report, Sarge!

I wish I had given you a 2 layer Insultex (IX) UQ.

Your report makes me wonder if you are suspending the IX UQ a bit too tight... Most people are fine with one layer at 50*F, unless you get it just a little too tight. It should be hung like a bridal veil, not quite touching your hammock. You must especially avoid letting it touch the hammock at your low point.

Keep the edges closed! If the head end of the IX UQ goes up above your shoulders, it will leak cold air. The upper end is fitted to your shoulders.

PM me on HF with your address, and I'll send you a second layer!

- MacEntyre

I'm not sure. I tried both loose and snug (not tight). I also tried flipping it over to see if I had it on upside down. I have a feeling one more layer would have done the job - probably...

vonfrick
2010-05-06, 17:56
great pics rock!!

Ray
2010-05-07, 01:19
See? Just like I told you about the DRT between Rhodes and Mulky - nothin' to it. It's a stroll in the park.

Real nice looking "W" signs though, weren't they?

SGT Rock
2010-05-07, 15:15
See? Just like I told you about the DRT between Rhodes and Mulky - nothin' to it. It's a stroll in the park.

Real nice looking "W" signs though, weren't they?

They were life savers.

There was an area between Rhodes and Mulky that was a stroll.

Wednesday I ran into two hikers all decked out in 80's style stuff - huge frame packs, stuff hanging all off of the packs, big heavy boots, 6' staffs for walking sticks, long pants and shirts. They said they were doing the same hike I was just finishing. Ouch, good luck to them.

vonfrick
2010-05-07, 16:45
They were life savers.

There was an area between Rhodes and Mulky that was a stroll.

Wednesday I ran into two hikers all decked out in 80's style stuff - huge frame packs, stuff hanging all off of the packs, big heavy boots, 6' staffs for walking sticks, long pants and shirts. They said they were doing the same hike I was just finishing. Ouch, good luck to them.

hey! :argh: i have an external frame and it's 2 lbs. lighter than my internal (which now belongs to moonshine-good luck girl!)

i am not "80's" ugh...i feel so uncool

Kanga
2010-05-07, 16:58
hey! :argh: i have an external frame and it's 2 lbs. lighter than my internal (which now belongs to moonshine-good luck girl!)

i am not "80's" ugh...i feel so uncool

what are you talking about?!:afraid: the 80's were beyond cool. ratt. kiss. cool hair (still got it!) jelly bracelets. desperately seeking susan. trans ams. i mean really! where the frick is your head girl?

vonfrick
2010-05-07, 17:10
docksiders, izods, pink AND green as a good thing, trickle-down economics????

Kanga
2010-05-07, 17:43
fine, debbie downer. only look at the bad side, will ya?

vonfrick
2010-05-07, 17:49
fine, debbie downer. only look at the bad side, will ya?

when i think of the 80's, all i think of is middle school...i mean c'mon...which of us has fond memories of that??

Kanga
2010-05-07, 17:53
me?
girl we were wild (i know, you're shocked). in middle school i was introduced to everclear, budweiser, sensimilla, sneakin out, skinny dipping, and nekkin. i had a frickin blast!

Kanga
2010-05-07, 17:54
wait. is this thread gray? shit.

vonfrick
2010-05-07, 17:57
me?
girl we were wild (i know, you're shocked). in middle school i was introduced to everclear, budweiser, sensimilla, sneakin out, skinny dipping, and nekkin. i had a frickin blast!

i was this "tall" in 5th grade, the most popular girl in school told me i was too happy (so i fixed that), i bled out one day in class in white pants and so i stayed in for 3 years and read the world book encyclopedia through the letter T.

don't ask me about zebras, i know nothing.

Kanga
2010-05-07, 17:58
i was this "tall" in 5th grade, the most popular girl in school told me i was too happy (so i fixed that), i bled out one day in class in white pants and so i stayed in for 3 years and read the world book encyclopedia through the letter T.

don't ask me about zebras, i know nothing.

that is awesome!

SGT Rock
2010-05-12, 11:42
I just finished out the SUL page with hike report, summary, some pictures, and a short evaluation of each item of gear. www.hikinghq.net/sul.html

I plan to write some more detailed reviews of some of the gear in the next few days.
__________________

Ray
2010-05-13, 14:26
<picture of mouth guard>My dentist has me using one of these to prevent teeth grinding at night.
Results: Worked as planned Saves my teeth as planned. But since the hike I have discovered a lighter option.Had your teeth pulled out?

vonfrick
2010-05-13, 15:39
Had your teeth pulled out?

i have a mouthguard as well but warrghy claims, and i believe him, that i don't grind my teeth while hiking. if i was grinding at night i would know it bc i get terrible pain in my face and jaw. i guess the stress just melts away! :biggrin:

but i'd still like to know what your UL alternative was, short of what ray says :afraid:

SGT Rock
2010-05-13, 20:19
Had your teeth pulled out?
I didn't think of that option, that would be even lighter than my solution.

i have a mouthguard as well but warrghy claims, and i believe him, that i don't grind my teeth while hiking. if i was grinding at night i would know it bc i get terrible pain in my face and jaw. i guess the stress just melts away! :biggrin:

but i'd still like to know what your UL alternative was, short of what ray says :afraid:

I got something similar to this at Wal-Mart. Weighs 2 grams:

http://www.scriphessco.com/images/product/7030023B.jpg

JAK
2010-06-15, 10:21
Has anyone made a hammock that is intergrated right into the underquilt or sleeping bag?

It would be less flexible, being limited to the season of its temperature rating, but you would reduce all the extra shell layers of light nylon. It might end up more snug also.

I guess you would start with your hammock, or your friend's hammock for the prototype, and them sew a flap onto one side, that folds over to of you, and also doubles back to serve as the outer layer of shell. Then you would fill it with down, from your friends old sleeping bag. Then add some simple quilting, or get all fancy with baffles and shit. Maybe synthetic batt insulation might work better. Maybe synthetic bat insulation if you just want to hang upside down from a single branch, saving more weight yet again.

SGT Rock
2010-06-17, 08:14
I've seen some people play with this sort of idea over at Hammock Forums. I really haven't kept up on the progress of that sort of experiment. On the batted stuff, I'm playing with some Insutex stuff that has promise but I honestly haven't been able to stay comfortable in relatively mild weather with the stuff yet. Others have reported success, so I am still determined to make it work.